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California coast to see massive storm continue, stretching across US

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SAN FRANCISCO, CA: San Franciscans lined up with their cars and rush to get sandbags outside of the Department of Public Works (DPW) on January 3, 2023 ahead of tomorrow's rainstorm in San Francisco, California, United States. (Tayfun Coşkun - Anadolu Agency)
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Jan 04, 2023 - 06:38 AM

DETROIT, Michigan (AA) – The US coast of California is set to be hit Tuesday with an atmospheric river storm that will set off extreme flooding and snow in the northern regions.

The storm continues severe weather patterns that have plagued much of the country in the past few weeks.

California residents already experienced a catastrophic storm last weekend with deadly flooding. The Axios news website said 5.46 inches (13.8 centimeters) of rain fell in San Francisco, the second-wettest calendar day on record.

Another 6 – 12 inches is predicted to fall late Tuesday until Thursday. Winds are predicted to rage up to 70 mph (113 kph), according to the National Weather Service.

An atmospheric river storm is a narrow but fierce current in the air that carries large amounts of water vapor as it travels from the tropics into the mid- and northern latitudes. Rivers and the surrounding soil cannot accommodate the rainfall released, with atmospheric river storms the cause of extreme flooding and even landslides.

As the storm moves east Wednesday and Thursday, tornadoes are predicted for the south as well as ice and snow for the Plains and upper Midwest, according to CNN. Higher-than-normal temperatures are forecast to cause strong thunderstorms as well.

The Gulf Coast, no stranger to severe weather, has already been at a level of 3 out of 5 “enhanced” risk of severe weather. Tornado watches were issued starting early Tuesday by the National Weather Service for millions of residents from the states of Louisiana to Tennessee.

Christmas week had already seen a winter storm that clobbered much of the US, starting with near-hurricane force lake-effect winds over the Great Lakes and driving snow in Buffalo, New York that paralyzed that city. Blizzard conditions and freezing temperatures reached all the way to the Rio Grande River. The storm claimed approximately 65 lives, according to an NBC tally.

Nearly 60% of the US population faced a winter advisory of some sort in the last two weeks of 2022, along with extreme temperatures and conditions, kicked off by a bomb cyclone in the Great Lakes, which is defined as a rapid drop in atmospheric pressure during a storm. ​​​​​​​

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